No NFL teams want to acquire Lamar Jackson and the reason why seems painfully obvious
Every year, with absolutely zero uncertainty, we are reminded that the NFL is a quarterback league. This is a non-negotiable step. You have or you don’t. And even when there is, sometimes it’s not enough. Just ask the Raiders who locked Derek Carr in free agency less than a year in the renewal of a recently signed contract. Teams typically pay exorbitant amounts in terms of current and future draft capital to move up and get ads for an unknown product in the draft.
And yet, when Lamar Jackson became available to any NFL team via Baltimore marked non-exclusive franchise on their starting quarterback…no NFL team interested?
This is the former MVP we’re talking about, one of the most energetic athletes in all of professional sports, a legitimate franchise defender who turned 26 in January.
We’ve never seen a quarterback hung up so that the entire NFL, in need of quarterbacks, came after him. It’s a cutthroat league where margins are tight, and having a quarterback separates you not only from the chance to win the Super Bowl, but from the interest of fans both locally and nationally.
The Carolina Panthers are largely irrelevant on the national stage. Panthers with Lamar Fucking Jackson? This is a team that plays several games in prime time every year and is the immediate favorite to win the NFC South. The exact same case could be made for the Atlanta Falcons. And my God, Lamar’s re-creation of the Vic 2.0 in red, white and black would be incredible.
However, we will be denied this aesthetic because Atlanta, like the Carolinas, like any other NFL team in need of quarterbacks, is simply not interested in even trying to go after Lamar. They’re not even going to check what Lamar might want to purchase for him.
total lack of interest in Lamar is even wilder than Lamar is open to negotiations with the entire league. And the reason seems painfully obvious: NFL owners are adamant about dropping the idea of quarterbacks getting fully guaranteed contracts.
Lamar’s predicament was created when the Browns traded Deshawn Watson and gave him a $230 million guaranteed deal, despite Watson facing double-digit off-field sexual harassment allegations. As our very own Jason Lakanfora reported in March 2022, Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam made a deal with Watson. drew the ire of virtually every other NFL owner.
In fact, the Browns weren’t interested in Watson until Haslam wanted to break the position – and the precedent – and offer Watson a deal that no one else in the league was willing to offer.
Watson hadn’t played football in over a year, he needed to get some big draft picks, he wanted a monstrous contract extension, and he faced unprecedented challenges off the field. However, the Browns were against him, as were the Falcons and Panthers, according to multiple reports.
Lamar is in the same spot, only he’s been more productive, has a better injury history (Watson has several torn ACLs since college), is a MVP, and there are no negotiations with the Ravens for compensation if the offer sheet is agreed. .
Despite this, no fewer than five NFL teams have publicly declared their lack of interest in Jackson with incredible speed. After the Ravens announced on Twitter that they were tagging Lamar at 3:02 pm ET Tuesday, we received a flurry of messages from various reporters.
The Falcons – by all accounts the best place to land Lamar – told ESPN’s Diane Russini that they were on Lamar by 3:16 pm ET.
According to sources, the Atlanta Falcons will not pursue QB Lamar Jackson.
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) March 7, 2023
I can’t even choose what I want for dinner that quickly, let alone make a decision that will change the franchise. Jackson will thrive in Arthur Smith’s offense and keep the Falcons relevant but confident. The Raiders quickly followed suit, making it clear they were “unlikely” to go after Jackson.
If you’re wondering if @Raiders Lamar Jackson is involved, the answer is very unlikely.
— Vincent Bonsignore (@VinnyBonsignore) March 7, 2023
Recognizing that Mark Davis probably doesn’t have the liquidity to actually pay Jackson (more on that in a minute), and ignoring what his father would do (trade Jackson for a fucking heartbeat), I’d like to point out the only quarterback. currently on the Raiders roster is Chase Garbers. I guess at least 50% of the people reading this can’t be 100% sure if I came up with this name or not.
By 4:30 pm ET, the Panthers made it clear that they, too, were unlikely to be involved with Lamar.
Scott Fitterer will certainly discuss and discuss Lamar Jackson, as that’s what he does.
But the Panthers are not expected to hit the Jackson market, according to league sources.
— Joe Person (@josephperson) March 7, 2023
David Tepper was turned down several times in an attempt to trade him for a franchise quarterback, including Watson, Matthew Stafford and, not even jokingly, Carson Wentz. Lamar Jackson is wanted and he doesn’t even want to know what it might take to get him? Again, of course.
The Dolphins also reported this, citing their satisfaction with the QB position with Tua Tagovailoa.
The Dolphins will not pursue Lamar Jackson or any other starting quarterback this offseason, multiple team sources told me. As one source put it, “Mike has complete confidence that Tua is the perfect fit for his system.”
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) March 7, 2023
This would make sense were it not for 1) the medical issues surrounding Tua’s future, and 2) the constant buzz around Tom Brady and the dolphins that persists.
Even Danny Snyder’s Washington commanders don’t want to get involved in Lamar’s business.
Tried to gauge the league’s interest in Lamar Jackson ever since #Crows labeled it a non-exclusive franchise.
Washington is a team that makes sense on paper (as does the Falcons). But from what I hear #Commanders unlikely to pursue Jackson.
— Kimberley A. Martin (@ByKimberleyA) March 7, 2023
I covered the NFL for over 15 years. I’ve seen a lot of weird stuff, even if you just want to narrow it down to Tag Day. The Broncos once lost Elvis Dumerville because they sent a fax to the league office. Never, never have I seen a real, legitimate franchise quarterback have five plus NFL teams *immediately* leaked into him without interest.
Either we’re all grossly underestimating the problems with Lamar, or something else is going on. So what are these concerns? Some of them are quite viable, but I mostly play devil’s avocado in the interest of representing both parties.
Giving up a few first-round picks is not what NFL teams want. Two first-round picks for any NFL player is a pretty hefty price to pay, but it’s in line with what we’ve seen recently in the trade-in market for other franchise quarterbacks. The Rams and Broncos forfeited similar trophies in favor of Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson, respectively. And it’s not the first two matchups for a cost-controlled player you could have drafted.
It’s big here. Lamar apparently wants a fully guaranteed deal. The crows decided to let the market tell him what his value was, and the market magically dried up! We’ll never know what Lamar might agree to because teams don’t even put out proposal sheets. A fully guaranteed deal would require matching every dollar in escrow (an outdated rule from the days when not every NFL owner had hundreds of millions of dollars), something even the richest NFL owner doesn’t want to deal with (again, more on that in a moment). If we are talking about maximum guarantees, then this is a potential problem with the salary cap, although the salary cap seems more and more like a myth.
Lamar introduces himself. There is nothing wrong with that, and I applaud his enterprise. But the lack of an agent makes it difficult to close a deal. Agents are interested – both in terms of their reputation and in terms of finances – to make a deal. They have already worked with most of these NFL teams and can get their clients into certain deals. Lamar is unwavering here. Good for him. This complicates the negotiation process for NFL teams.
Again, I’m just giving possible arguments, so don’t yell at me about it. It’s perfectly reasonable for some NFL coaches, front offices, or owners to fear that the offense will be based on Lamar’s particular skill set. I would tell anyone who claims to be a coward and a worthy coach can figure out how to make Lamar work. Also, if a team doesn’t believe they don’t have a quarterback and are in the process of rebuilding, there’s a reasonable argument for not giving up capital. Unfortunately, all of these teams have been aggressive in chasing quarterbacks lately. What changed?!
Lamar has only played in 12 games in the last two years. He plays football, which, due to his running skills, can rightly be called dangerous to his health in the long run. He is not complex like Cam Newton or Josh Allen. If you want to tell yourself a long-term health care story, you can. Maybe not a good story…